You Can

by Susan P.
  Fandom: ER      Pairing: Kerry/Abby  
  Rating, etc.: 13+, adult situations  
  Spoilers: Up through and especially including Season 12, Episode #16, "Out on a Limb".  
  Summary: Kerry and Abby share a moment before Kerry's surgery.  
  Author's Notes: The Kerry/Abby goodness in #1216 inspired this little extension of that last scene between them. I originally posted this one before it was 'finished.' This part can stand on its own, but the story isn't quite finished, in my mind. I'll have to call this part one, for now, because I have written more, and I still hope to finish the additional part(s) eventually.  
  Disclaimers: Kerry and Abby belong to NBC, Constant C, Amblin, Warner Brothers, etc..  
  Permission to Archive: Passion and Perfection. ShatterStorm Productions  Anyone else, please ask first.  


"You know, it's not easy being alone, but I've always felt I could depend on you."

"You can," Abby replied quietly.

They both knew that there was a time that wouldn't have been true, but both had the good grace not to point it out. Over the years, she and Kerry had managed to forge a strange relationship--and a stronger bond than she could have possibly imagined.

Abby fumbled in her lab coat pocket for a pen and unfolded the legal documents with trembling fingers. She blinked back tears and turned away slightly as she bent to sign the form. She was awed by depth of Kerry's trust in her and more worried than she would dare admit about the possibilities that the document represented. If anything were to happen to Kerry…

In the ER, Kerry was a force to be reckoned with, but Kerry had become a quiet, steady presence in her life and Abby didn't want to imagine a future without Kerry in it.

She squeezed her eyes shut tightly for a moment and tried to steady her breathing before turning back to face Kerry.

"Here you go," Abby hoped her voice sounded steadier than she felt. She felt like she was standing on the edge of a cliff, teetering on the precipice. However, she found she was less afraid of falling than of leaving things left unsaid. Somehow, she managed to find her voice again.

"And before they come back to finish prepping you, we need to get a couple of things straight. First, I don't see you as disabled because you are so much more than that to me. You're one of the best doctors I've ever seen, and learning from you has made me better. You're caring, compassionate, beautiful, and…fierce. With or without the crutch, you'll find your way, because you can do anything. You're Kerry Weaver!"

She watched Kerry's eyes slide away from hers in embarrassment. Abby could almost hear the self-doubt creeping around Kerry's heart, and she knew she had to do something to pull Kerry out of herself.

She reached out to cup Kerry's cheek in her hand and pulled gently but insistently until Kerry was again focused on her.

She couldn't resist the urge to stroke Kerry's soft skin with her thumb. She tried telling herself that it was just a means of holding Kerry's attention, which she was now certain she had. Kerry's dilated pupils told her as much, and she reveled in that small sign of her power to affect the almighty Weaver. But, the more she touched, the more she wanted to touch, and the harder it became to deny that touching Kerry was an end in itself.

"That's how I see you," Abby insisted.

Abby was still and quiet and open while Kerry's eyes bored into hers, measuring her words, measuring her. When Kerry's eyes slid closed a long moment, Abby's thumb resumed its gentle caresses.

When Kerry reopened her eyes, there was a quiet acceptance there, and Abby smiled to see it.

"And one more thing," Abby continued. "You are not going anywhere. You're going to get through this surgery, and you are going to fight your way through rehab the way you fight your way through everything else, because it's who you are, and because you have too much to live for."

She reached out with her other hand to cup Kerry's face between her palms.

"Henry needs you. This hospital needs you." Abby sighed, feeling the sting of impending tears again. "And I need you, too," she croaked, before leaning in to place a light kiss on Kerry's temple.

Once her lips had tasted Kerry, she couldn't stop herself from breathing, "Don't leave me," in a shaky whisper against Kerry's skin. Then, before she even realized what she was doing, she was leaning down and guiding Kerry's face up to meet hers.

Kerry's lips beneath hers were soft and very, very still--at first. Just as Abby registered Kerry's lack of response and started to panic, Kerry made a small sound in her throat and her lips twitched slightly. Then Kerry began to respond, tentatively, at first, and then with more and more enthusiasm.

Abby couldn't contain her moan when she felt Kerry's fingers sliding up to grip the back of her neck. Kerry’s lips moved beneath hers and opened readily to admit Abby's tongue when it slid across her bottom lip. Abby had known instinctively that Kerry would not be the one to cross that line and, having started this, she was determined to make the most of whatever intimacies Kerry would allow. This moment might be the only one she got, and she didn't want to have any regrets about chances not taken.

Feeling Kerry's hand gripping her head more firmly, Abby reached around with her right hand to hold Kerry's head close. Their mouths melded together, tasting each other, sharing what breath they could manage to spare as their kisses became deeper and hungrier. They finally broke apart only when taking in oxygen became more important than taking in each other.

They didn't let go, however, just relaxed their grip slightly as their lips parted. Abby leaned her forehead against Kerry's, and they remained like that a few moments, each out-of-breath and panting slightly. Abby wished that her fingers could be buried in Kerry's hair instead of resting against that damned surgical cap. It was an unpleasant reminder of their situation, and the fact that someone was likely to come in any moment to finish prepping Kerry. Given the circumstances, Abby decided she'd better pull away while she still could.

She bent to give Kerry one last, relatively chaste, kiss before pulling back. She could see the wonder, the desire, and all the questions she wasn't sure she could answer, yet, in Kerry's eyes. Even if she knew the answers, they just didn't have time. It could wait. It would have to.

"I'll see you when you get out of surgery," she promised softly. She didn't know what else to say. Not yet.

Kerry apparently had the same problem, because she merely nodded in response, even though she still studied Abby closely. Abby allowed the inspection for a moment before turning to leave. She felt Kerry's eyes on her like a caress as she walked out, and it did nothing to calm the tingling in her skin, or the butterflies in her stomach.

Abby found the O.R. nurse to ask her to, "Page me when Kerry Weaver goes into recovery." The nurse nodded in response and Abby half-turned to go before looking back to add, "and with any updates. Especially if..." She couldn't finish the sentence, but the nurse reached out to touch her arm as she nodded her understanding.

"We'll take good care of her, Dr. Lockhart."

"It's Abby." Abby covered the nurse's hand where it rested on her arm and thanked her. It occurred to her to wonder whether the nurse might have seen what happened with Kerry, but she was too grateful for the compassion she saw in the other woman's eyes to care. She had bigger things to worry about than the hospital grapevine, at the moment. She thanked the nurse again before retreating to the nearest restroom. Once there, it finally hit her what she had done, what they had done.

"Oh God," she breathed. She leaned against one of the sinks and stared into the mirror above it, no longer quite sure who it was who was looking back at her. Or what she was going to do next. She didn't know what might happen next with Kerry, if anything. Or what she would do about Luka. The kiss had raised far more questions than it had answered. Her sense of self had shifted somehow, and she wasn't quite sure how she felt about anything anymore.

"'Get a couple of things straight,' I said," Abby rolled her eyes at herself. "So how did I manage to get things so twisted?"

It seemed there was a world of difference between indulging in the occasional idle fantasy and actually acting upon the impulse.

She looked closely at her face in the mirror, took in the still-dilated pupils, the mussed hair, the slightly swollen lips, and found she wasn't sorry for anything that had happened.

And she realized that she was certain of at least one thing. She would do everything possible to make sure she was there when Kerry woke up. Any questions she had in the meantime could wait until she could look into Kerry's eyes again.


End part one.

© June 2006